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This couple’s full-day adventure elopement was the embodiment of their idea of a perfect day together. They wanted to wake up early, enjoy coffee and a light breakfast followed by lakeside activities with their dogs. The couple envisioned a day that was simple while still being up for anything! That’s exactly what we accomplished through their sunrise to sunset elopement at Inks Lake in Texas.

couple has first look in home

Why Choose a Zero-Guest Elopement with Dogs

couple holds dog leashes at Inks Lake in Texas

What Sarah and Nick wanted to remember most from their day was having fun, being relaxed and feeling in love. In their own words: “The idea of everyone we know watching us and being the ‘center of attention’ for the day doesn’t appeal to either of us. We’d much rather spend the day relaxed and enjoy our little family we’ve built than be overwhelmed with a bunch of people.” They planned a reception with family for the following summer using their elopement photos for their unique wedding invitations.

Tied to their story was a mutual love for the great outdoors, hiking, and their two pups. Isa, a 4-year old Husky/German Shepherd mix, and Sweetie, a 2-year old Husky/Pit Bull mix were both adopted after Sarah and Nick began dating.

The couple summarized their travel and hiking philosophy: “When we take the dogs, we like the more raw version of traveling: camping, cooking on a fire, and living off the land. We also prefer the views over any destination because we use hiking as a way to disconnect and enjoy the journey.”

They wanted to include their two dogs in the entire elopement so shorter hikes and secluded areas ensured that the dogs were never left behind! Inks Lake in Texas provided just the right spots for their Texas Hill Country elopement. I have been exploring with my own two dogs for years so I felt prepared for this exact moment!

Sarah and Nick live in the middle-of-nowhere East Texas without many outdoor locations to explore. We were excited to travel for their Texas Hill Country wedding at Inks Lake in Central Texas. We structured the day with a break in the middle splitting it into sunrise and sunset five-hour chunks.

Elopement Adventure from Sunrise to Sunset at Inks Lake in Texas

couple writes vows with dogs at Inks Lake in Texas

The day started with a peaceful morning along the Colorado River at a lesser known campground I had found at Inks Lake in Texas. It was just the four of them enjoying the water and a picnic breakfast with coffee. Nick kept commenting how peaceful it was and that it was the coolest location they had ever traveled with the dogs. We could hear the flowing river as they wrote their vows which is my favorite sound.

couple gets coffee together at Texas elopement at Inks Lake in Texas

On our return to their lodgings we made a stop at a local family-owned coffee shop I knew of, Numinous Coffee Roasters. Being local to Central Texas has its advantages!

couple embraces in front of wedding venue at Texas elopement

We made it back to their accommodations through the Missing Hotel which was STUNNING. These rentals provide villas, domes, and treehouses as nature getaways. I always emphasize the importance of selecting your lodging location because it is a huge piece of your overall Texas elopement experience. It makes a significant difference in your photos, and serves as the backup location for dangerous weather or park closures. Nick and Sarah definitely understood this assignment!

Sarah surprised Nick with a custom vinyl record of some of their favorite songs. They played it on the record player while dancing in the living room. We also caught an annular solar eclipse by grabbing eclipse glasses and hiking to the tallest spot on the property. I left after this excitement so we could all take a break.

I returned while Sarah and Chris were both getting ready. They had their first look and then got the dogs ready with their own floral collars. The florals including Sarah’s haku lei (flower crown) were made of white orchids and ti leaves (shipped from Hawaii). These are traditional flowers of her Hawaiian heritage.

couple has first look on porch
couple stands with dogs at Inks Lake in Texas elopement
couple hugs dogs at outdoor elopement

What an All-Day Elopement at Inks Lake in Texas Means to the Couple

couple kisses with dogs at Inks Lake in Texas elopement
couple exchanges vows at Texas elopement

We finally made it to their sunset ceremony at Inks Lake in Texas. After a short hike, they had an emotional ceremony just as the sun began to set. This was followed by portraits and then everyone had a cupcake from Sprinkles Cupcakes to celebrate. There were even ones for the dogs!

The whole day was super relaxed and felt very effortless. Sarah and Chris reflected over how grateful they were for going this route for their wedding day, “The day was extremely effortless on our part. We were able to just be present in the moment of our wedding day without stressing about anything.” They didn’t have to worry about food or guests and they could just focus on each other and getting married.

It was a peaceful and exciting elopement day that was so uniquely them. As Sarah noted, “It was amazing how well Nikole captured all of our personalities in the photos: mine, my husband’s, and even our dogs! Looking at the photos puts us right back in the memories of our wedding day and we will cherish them for a lifetime.” The day was an honor to be a part of!

couple walks dogs together at sunset Texas elopement
couple kisses with dogs at Inks Lake in Texas
couple stands on deck of wedding getting-ready house
couple kisses in front of house in woods in Central Texas
bride stands in window while getting ready
bride walks dogs at Inks Lake in Texas
couple elopes at Inks Lake in Texas

Wedding Vendors

Photographer | Nikole Velasco Photography
First Look/Getting Ready | the Missing Hotel
Ceremony | Inks Lake State Park
Cupcakes | Sprinkles Cupcakes
Dress | AZAZIE
Custom Vinyl Record | Freestyle Vinyl
Coffee | Numinous Coffee Roasters

I was recently polled by  Montana elopement photographers on “Do you tip elopement photographers?”  Check out my response!

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